Fiction: ‘Here Be Dragons’

Here Be Dragons

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What if the Earth isn’t at all what we think it is?

What if it was something that we couldn’t explain with all our knowledge of physics and planetary geology? On the surface, it’s a wondrous medley of different landscapes. Every mountain and valley formed upon that seemingly rigid surface over inconceivable periods of time. We have dedicated our lives to exploring this world. From the cradle of civilisation to the outer reaches of the globe, humanity has been mapping our planet in order to know and understand it better.

But what if we could explore further?

What if we could see deeper into its heart?

Beneath the Earth’s mantle, wrapped around the boiling core, are creatures as large as continents. They lie asleep, hibernating as they soak up the Earth’s heat. Their steady breathing drives the tides. Deep in their slumber, every shift of their colossal limbs causes the continental plates to roam a little further, and every restless sigh causes volcanoes to erupt as earthquakes shiver through the land.

We might call them dragons.

They have been holding the Earth together since its creation over four billion years ago. No one knows whether they think the way that we do, or if their minds comprehend the universe on a more advanced level than us.

Perhaps that’s where their appeal lies: in the impossibility of ever fully understanding them.

All we can do is observe them from the outside until a time when they choose to reappear. And even then, they will only be passing through. When our sun reaches its fate and expands into a red giant, it will consume each planet, one at a time. Amidst the chaos and destruction, Earth will be pushed away beyond the reaches of our Solar System, discarded by its host. As it spins out into the void of space, our home will grow dimmer and dimmer. The core will slow down. And as the mantle finally cools, the dragons will awaken, one by one, and depart for warmer pastures.

All that remains will be the collective memory of what had been.

~ Ekaterina

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